The Problem with Nasal Polyps


December 2, 2014


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Blog by AENT Associates

Did you know that sinus infections is one of the main reasons people visit the ENT office?  When the infection hangs around for months, even after various treatments, the situation is referred to as chronic sinusitis.  There are many causes of this, but a common trigger is nasal polyps. 

What is a nasal polyp?
A polyp is a tiny, fluid-fill sac (containing proteins) that forms when the lining of the nose becomes swollen and inflamed.  Nasal polyps form as a reaction to this inflammation, triggered by allergies or an inflammatory disease.  As the polyps grow and swell, they can begin to obstruct the nasal passages, resulting in congestion.  It is not uncommon for polyps to fill up to 100% of the nasal cavity.

What are the symptoms of nasal polyps?

  • A runny nose
  • Persistent stuffiness
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased or absent sense of smell
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Facial pain or headache
  • Pain in your upper teeth
  • A sense of pressure over your forehead and face
  • Snoring
  • Itching around your eyes

How are nasal polyps problematic?
Polyps can block the nerves within the nasal passages, dulling the sense of smell.  Since smell is related to taste, many people with polyps notice a diminished sense of flavors.  When the polyps cause congestion, patients may begin to breathe from their mouth both during the day and at night.  This can cause in snoring, which when it is severe enough, can lead to sleep apnea – a serious medical condition.

What can be done to treat nasal polyps?
 The right treatment plan for polyps will ultimately depend on their cause.  Typically, a steroid nasal spray is the first line of defense against nasal polyps. Oral steroids can be useful for treating moderate to severe polyps caused by allergic rhinitis. Unfortunately, while oral medications may dramatically reduce the inflammation, many times after the medication has been stopped, the swelling will return to the tissue.  Steroid nasal sprays can be used long term to shrink and slow the growth of polyps.  If medications prove to be ineffective, sinus surgery may become necessary.

The only way to determine if polyps are causing your nasal symptoms is through an in-depth medical evaluation.  Allergy and ENT Associates is Houston’s top provider of ENT services, with physicians all across the city.  Schedule a new patient appointment at your closest office.  Unsure where to go?  Contact Allergy and Asthma’s medical center location at 281.453.4228 to get started.

This entry was posted in Sinus on December 2, 2014 by AENT Team.

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